What are some tips to make administering eye drops to dogs easier?

Original Question: Our dog Luke - 9 months old - has "pink eye" and has been prescribed Tobrex 0.3%. We are having a real difficult time with the eye drops. Is this medication available in an another application such as in pill or cream form? - Sheila

What are some tips to make administering eye drops to dogs easier? Apr 24, 2018

Hi Sheila,

Great question! Thanks for sending it in.

So this is a pretty frustrating situation. There have been dogs that people just can’t give eye medications to but it is rare. There are a few points to consider.

– There is an ointment form of those drops which you only have to apply to the eye twice a day. It can cut down on the number of times you have to struggle through this. However, an ointment can be even harder to apply to the eye than a drop.

– When you apply anything to the eye, especially a drop, keep in mind that pointing their nose to the ceiling is the best position to be in. It will create the largest ‘target’ when dropping a dose into the eye. If the head is positioned parallel to the floor, the eye opening is at it’s smallest aperture when looking at it from the top. A drop of medication will be challenging to enter it in this position as it falls out of the bottle when squeezed.

– When the neck is extended up towards the ceiling, it will stretch the neck muscles. In this position, the muscles are at their weakest because they are almost fully extended. Your dog’s attempt to wiggle and fight is reduced which will assist you.

– When you try and apply a drop in the, your dog will try to back up. The best way to counter this is to put his or her butt in the corner of the room. Have them in a seated position. Then you straddle them in a standing position or crouched position (depending on the size of your dog) with your butt in the corner of the room as well. Then you take both hands, place them under your dog’s muzzle or chin and raise the nose so it is directed towards the ceiling. The top of their head should now be touching your stomach. This position will eliminate their ability to back up and the neck muscles will be extended so they’re at their weakest and can’t struggle as strongly. This is the ideal position to be in and if you have a second person to apply the drop that would be ideal.

I really encourage you to drop by your clinic and ask that the registered veterinary technicians demonstrate this to you, or give you tips on how they do it. They get quite creative and they are a great source of advice and information.

Be strong and don’t give up the battle. Keep in mind that you are doing this for their own good. If you lose a battle, it can embolden your dog to fight harder next time because they know they can win. So be firm but don’t cause pain. Harden your heart and go for it.

If you are still at a loss, look for someone in your neighbourhood who could stop by and help, ask if you can stop by your vet multiple times a day for the RVTs to perform it, or look for someone who house sits pets in your area, they could be trained in medicating pets.

Good luck. I hope this helps.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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